Intel Extends 320 SSD Series' Warranty To 5 Years

Subject: Storage | May 20, 2011 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, 320

Intel is so confident in their new Intel 320 series solid state drives that they are extending the warranty from three to five years. The 320 series use 25 nm NAND flash memory, and have a claimed MTBF (mean time before failure) of 1.2 million hours.

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According to the new warranty, Intel states that: "if the Product is properly used and installed, it will be free from defects in material and workmanship, and will substantially conform to Intel’s publicly available specifications for a period of five (5) years beginning on the date the Product was purchased." Naturally, it does not cover physical or other accidental damage. As SSDs are still relatively new technology, it is hard to gauge reliability in consumer systems over the long term, so it is nice to see that Intel is confident enough in it's 25nm flash technology to extend the warranty. Hopefully, this will influence other manufacturers to adopt longer warranties. You can read the full warranty details here.

Source: Intel

HP discusses "Memristors", doesn't discuss better name

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2011 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: memristor, hp

Not satisfied with resistors, capacitors, and inductors: scientists at HP are working on a new electrical element known as the memristor. A memristor functions as a resistor with the ability to change in resistance variable to the current placed on the element. What makes a memristor desirable for a company like HP is that the alterable resistence of the element can be used to store and more recently process data.

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Comes preloaded with Phantom of the Opera Browser.
Photo credits: R. Stanley Williams, HP Senior Fellow and Director of Information & Quantum Systems Lab; Michael J. Miller, PCMag
 
Memristors are noteworthy due to some intriguingly advantageous properties:
  • Switchable between on and off in a nanosecond
  • Capability to store up to 4 bits per ‘device’
  • Can process data on the device itself
  • Quite easy to manufacture for current chip factories 
Also noted is the statement that the multi-level nature of the memristor functions similar to how a human synapse functions. There are no shortages of technologies that claim to emulate human thought so my strong instinct is that this technology brings us no closer than any other technology. Regardless of whether this technology furthers AI development or whether it is hype; if the prospect of ridiculous speed and highly dense non-volatile storage pans true I have just two words: do want.
Source: PCMag

Thecus To Unveil 3 New Sandy Bridge Powered NAS At Computex 2011

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | May 16, 2011 - 04:34 PM |
Tagged: Thecus, SAN, NAS, computex

Thecus, a leading provider of Intel based NAS (Network Attached Storage) products, has announced that they will be unveiling a new XXX line powered by Intel Sandy Bridge processors and offering 10G Base T Connections at 2011's Computex in Taipei.  The XXX line covers everything from 2 bay Atom powered NAS for consumer useage all the way to the new 16 bay Sandy Bridge powered NAS for enterprise use.  The "XXX" stands for "Xtreme Power, Xtreme Function, and Xtreme Value," and it is their line of the best performance for the price NAS devices.

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They will be unveiling an eight bay, twelve bay, and sixteen bay NAS which they have dubbed the N8900, N12000PRO, and N16000PRO respectively. The eight bay NAS will be powered by a dual core Intel i3 2120 at 3.3GHz while the twelve and sixteen bay NAS devices will be powered by a quad core Intel Xeon E3-1280 at 3.5GHz. Considering that these chips are sought after for enthusiast and workstation computers much less NAS boxes, they will be able to eliminate CPU bottle-necking and provide ample horsepower to feed all of the NAS devices' internal drives. Thecus confidently states that "these models are guaranteed to dominate the market with excellent results for consumers jues like their predecessors."

Thecus further states that their new NAS devices offer 100% availability with 10 G Base T HA and iSCSI SAN (Storage Area Network) "with absolutely no breaks or delays in service in rain, shine, or Armageddon." Their NAS boxes "finally give businesses a true alternative to messy, bulk, budget-busting servers."

Whether their claims will hold up to testing or not, Thecus certainly seems confident in their product and are not afraid to follow the adage of "go big or go home" as they partner with Intel to power their NAS boxes with the latest and greatest in CPU technology.

Source: Thecus

Testing out the Intel Z68's "best of both worlds" mode with a 20GB SSD

Subject: Motherboards, Storage | May 13, 2011 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: z68, ssd, larson creek, intel 311, smart response technology

One of the more interesting things about the Z68 is Intel's SRT which allows you to utilize a small SSD as a cache for your HDD, allowing you the speed benefits of an SSD in most applications without having to spend the money to buy an SSD large enough to hold all your favourite programs. Legit Reviews tests a 20GB Intel 311 SSD paired with a 600GB WD Velociraptor in both modes, enhanced and maximized to see which offers the greatest benefits. Check out their findings.

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"The Intel SSD 311 Series 20GB 'Larson Creek' drive proved itself to be a great cache drive. If you have an Intel Z68 platform that can run Intel Smart Response Technology, it's worth looking into if you have a hard drive for the primary drive and don't want to splurge on an SSD and having to re-install your OS!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

OCZ Unviels New Talos SAS 6Gbps SSDs

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 12, 2011 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: ssd, SAS, ocz, enterprise

 

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OCZ Technology, a leading provider of Solid State Drives, today announced a new line of enterprise drives. The new Serial Attached SCSI SSDs differ from other enterprise offerings by using multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory instead of the faster single-level cell chips. Further, OCZ has included it's proprietary VCA (Virtualized Controller Architecture) technology, which provides enterprise customers with TRIM, SMART monitoring, native command queuing (NCQ), tagged command queuing (TCQ), power fail management, and wear-leveling.

Promising up to 64,000 4K IOPS and optimized specifically for enterprise level storage applications, the MLC based Talos drives deliver "advanced application performance, all the necessary enterprise features, and substantial power savings, at a better total cost of ownership." Further, the new Talos drives represent the highest capacity SAS 6Gbps drives available today.

The new drives will be available in both 3.5" and 2.5" form factors, and range from 200 GB to 960GB. They will soon be available to small-to-medium business (SMB) as well as enterprise customers through OCZ's business-to-business channel.

Alenka: The SQL, starring CUDA!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Storage | May 11, 2011 - 07:58 PM |
Tagged: SQL, developer, CUDA

Programmers are beginning to understand and be ever more comfortable with the uses of GPUs in their applications. Late last week we explored the KGPU project. KGPU is designed to allow the Linux kernel to offload massively parallel processes to the GPU to offload the CPU as well as directly increase performance. KGPU showed that in terms of an encrypted file system you can see whole multiple increases in read and write bandwidth on an SSD. Perhaps this little GPU thing can be useful for more? Alenka Project thinks so: they are currently working on a CUDA-based SQL-like language for data processing.

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CUDA woulda shoulda... and did.

SQL databases are some of the most common methods to store and manipulate larger sets of data. If you have a blog it almost definitely is storing its information in a SQL database. If you play an MMO your data is almost definitely stored and accessed on a SQL server. As your data size expands and your number of concurrent accesses increases you can see why using a GPU could keep your application running much smoother.

Alenka in its current release supports large data sets exceeding both GPU and system RAM via streaming chunks, processing, and moving on. Its supported primitive types are doubles, longs, and varchars. It is open source under the Apache license V2.0. Developers interested in using or assisting with the project can check out their Sourceforge. We should continue to see more and more GPU-based applications appear in the near future as problems such as these are finally lifted from the CPU and given to someone more suitable to bear.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction

For the past few months, we've seen rumors upon rumors of a hybrid combination of the H67 and P67 chipsets into a 'Z' series. As the storage editor, I don't normally focus on a chipset update unless there is a corresponding increase in SATA bus speeds and/or ports available on the newer product.

This time things were different. While the Z series had the same SATA bandwidth specs as its older brothers, there was an extra feature that was rather huge in the storage world: Smart Response Technology.

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OCZ Technology Announces the Agility 3 and Solid 3 SATA III Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | May 10, 2011 - 11:28 AM |
Tagged: ssd, solid, sata, ocz, agility, 6gbps, 3

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SAN JOSE, CA—May 10, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today unveiled the Agility 3 and Solid 3 SATA III SSD product lines. The Agility 3 and Solid 3 are designed to cater to speed-seeking enthusiasts in search of the best value for performance. Using the latest technology, these new series deliver nearly double the performance of the previous generation and offer a more cost-effective alternative to current SATA 6Gbps SSDs on the market.

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“With increased availability of SATA III platforms, the demand for the latest generation SSDs has grown rapidly,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ technology Group. “We are addressing this demand with new products that offer both the best performance and value for consumers. The new Agility 3 and Solid 3 SSDs make it easier than ever for consumers take advantage of the new SATA III interface. When coupled with the speed and reliability benefits that our SSDs offer over traditional hard drives, it makes the two new series the ideal choices for mobile and desktop applications.”

Agility 3 and Solid 3 SSDs feature the leading-edge SandForce® SF-2200 SSD processor and help improve the overall computing experience compared to traditional mechanical hard drives and SATA II SSDs. The Agility 3 delivers up to 525MB/s reads, 500MB/s writes, and up to 60,000 4KB random write IOPS while the value-oriented Solid 3 features 500MB/s reads, 450MB/s writes, and 20,000 4KB random write IOPS.

Available in a new boot-drive size 60GB capacity as well as 120GB and 240GB options, Agility 3 and Solid 3 SSDs feature TRIM support to optimize performance over the drive’s lifespan. Both solutions come backed by a 3-year warranty for ultimate customer satisfaction and peace of mind.

Source: OCZ

The 8GB Atari 810 Drive, now with flash memory support

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 5, 2011 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: mod, microSD, atari 810

It is common knowledge that technology gets smaller as time advances. There is, however, a point where a certain level of advancement trots along the border to absurdity and makes you think about exactly what is possible with modern technology and occasionally an innovative spirit. Leave it to the hackers to consistently push that boundary and entertain the rest of us less talented individuals.

Recently a blogger by the name of Rossum detailed on their Posterous blog their project of creating a microSD reader as a model replacement of an Atari 810 disk drive.
 
atari810sd.png
Image from Rossum
 
The original Atari 810 disk had the storage of 88K which is about 90,000 times smaller than the 8GB microSD card used in the miniaturized model 810 drive. Rossum claims to provide all the models, schematics, and code for the project in the near future for anyone wishing to dust off their soldering irons and create their own.

Very colourful and extremely fast; meet OWC's Mercury Extreme Pro 6G

Subject: Storage | May 5, 2011 - 04:29 PM |
Tagged: owc, ocz, ssd, 120gb, sata 6Gps, sandforce

OWC appeared on the SSD scene in partnership with Apple, though they sold drives to PC users as well.  Their current generation uses SandForce's Release Candidate firmware for the SF-2281 controller as opposed to OCZ's official firmware that is present in the Vertex 3 SSDs.  That is not the only difference, OCZ rolled their own PCB while OWC went with a design that caused a few raised eyebrows at AnandTech.  Read their full review to see how the performance evened out.

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"I still don't get how OWC managed to beat OCZ to market last year with the Mercury Extreme SSD. The Vertex LE was supposed to be the first SF-1500 based SSD on the market, but as I mentioned in our review of OWC's offering - readers had drives in hand days before the Vertex LE even started shipping.

I don't believe the same was true this time around. The Vertex 3 was the first SF-2200 based SSD available for purchase online, but OWC was still a close second. Despite multiple SandForce partners announcing drives based on the controller, only OCZ and OWC are shipping SSDs with SandForce's SF-2200 inside."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: AnandTech